MARTINEZ — She had killed her husband with a knife and her 15-year-old son had discovered the bloody corpse when Orinda police placed Susan Polk in handcuffs as the main murder suspect.

Still, police officers testified Wednesday, Susan Polk was calm and denied any involvement.

Orinda police Sgt. Kenneth Hansen handcuffed her that October night in 2002 and sat her on a bench just outside the front door of her craftsman home before he walked into the pool house, where Frank "Felix" Polk's body lay covered in dried blood.

Sitting on the witness stand Wednesday almost three years later, Hansen said Susan Polk's response to news of her husband's death has stayed with him.

"She said, 'Oh well, we were gonna get a divorce anyway,'" Hansen said.

Testimony in Polk's murder trial continued for the second day, as jurors listened to the officers who responded to the 9-1-1 call made by 15-year-old Gabriel Polk the night he found his father's body. Prosecutor Tom O'Connor claims Susan Polk killed her husband callously, spurred by a bitter divorce in which she had recently lost custody of Gabriel and a significant amount of money.

Polk says the killing was done in self-defense and that she had suffered a lifetime of abuse at the hand of her husband, a psychologist who began sleeping with her when she was his teenage patient in the 1970s.

The two married when she was 24, and had three sons. Susan Polk says it was she who initiated the divorce, and she killed Felix after he attacked her that night.

Her trial has grabbed headlines because it has pitted brother against brother, and son against mother. Gabriel, the youngest of the three Polk sons, is expected to testify against her next week. He and his older brother, Adam, 22, also have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against her. The middle boy, Eli, 20, will testify in his mother's defense.

After Hansen found the body, his partner that night, Orinda police Officer Shannon Kelly, took Susan Polk to his car and put her in the back seat. There, he said, she made a series of "spontaneous statements."

Kelly said Susan Polk first asked him if he was sure the body was her husband's. "Are you sure it's my husband? ... because his car's not there," Kelly recounted Polk telling him. Polk has admitted to moving her husband's car to a nearby BART station because she wanted her son to think Felix Polk was not around, so he would not find the body.

Kelly also said Susan Polk denied any involvement. "She said 'My husband's dead and I didn't do anything,'" Kelly said.

Defense attorney Daniel Horowitz, taking constant commentary from his client during the officers' testimony, argued that Susan Polk's placid demeanor was consistent with the shock experienced by victims of domestic violence or rape.

Horowitz also highlighted the fact that Kelly had been to the Polk house before, once to break up a rowdy teenage party and another time to search the area for weapons after Gabriel Polk had damaged his father's car with a sledgehammer.

After the search, Susan Polk had written a letter to the police complaining about Kelly and his partner's search, which she claimed was illegal.

Horowitz said Susan Polk was probably in shock from her husband's attack, and also afraid of an officer about whom she had complained previously.

Polk maintains she was worried about Gabriel that night. He had also been handcuffed and taken away wearing nothing but a pair of shorts. Kelly said Susan Polk asked him about Gabriel at least five times that night. Horowitz argued that her behavior that night was also affected by intense worry for her son.

Testimony resumes Friday morning.

Staff Writer Jason Dearen can be reached by e-mail at

jdearen@angnewspapers.com.